Radio airplay is not only excellent publicity for any band or artist, but it also introduces your music to new audiences and can truly break you through to the next level. We’ve put together some tips on how you can start the ball rolling with getting radio airplay for your music.
Start small & local
National radio play doesn’t tend to come about until you’ve made your mark on local or regional radio stations. So, start there! You will no doubt already be aware of radio stations broadcasting in your area so find out if they air any shows playing music from local emerging acts and if so, who to send it to.
The Unsigned Guide music industry directory can also help you find radio stations that will play tracks by upcoming artists. Our Radio Stations section of the directory features only stations that will allow you to submit music to them, with details of what shows they air that offer coverage to new and emerging music, when the shows are broadcast, plus names and contact details for who you should send your music to; whether that be the presenter, programme producer or the station’s Head of Music.
Once you’ve identified some local radio shows to target with your songs, take time to tune in or listen back to the programme to make sure your music will fit in. Building a good relationship with a local DJ who is keen to champion upcoming bands from the area is very worthwhile. Once you’re on their radar (and assuming they like your music, of course!) it is likely they will be keen to show ongoing support by playing new releases, plus there could be opportunities for studio interviews or live sessions as well.
It’s fine to follow up after sending your music to a DJ or show, but leave it a reasonable amount of time, usually 4-6 weeks. Remember, presenters and producers will have loads of submissions they need to listen to, so allow a little time before following up politely.
Targeting unsigned stations, shows & DJs
There are several UK radio stations and shows dedicated solely to new and emerging music that you should definitely be tapping into.
BBC Introducing is a great way to get airplay on your regional BBC station, just upload your song to their website and you’ll receive a confirmation email when it has been listened to. Regional BBC Introducing DJs also recommend great local bands and artists to the national DJs and producers, so if you can make an impression on a local level, you may eventually end up being played nationally on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra or 6Music.
Amazing Radio and Best Of British Unsigned are also entirely devoted to unsigned and undiscovered music so submit your music via their websites to be in with a chance of having your song played on air.
Also look out for specialist stations, programmes or podcasts that may suit your genre of music and get in touch with them too for a good chance of airplay.
What to send to radio stations
Whilst there are some few radio shows that will play rough demos on air and offer their feedback, these are few and far between. Generally, you need to send radio stations a finished version of your track and it needs to be a decent quality recording. Swearing and offensive content usually won’t go down well when broadcast so make sure you send radio-friendly versions! Ultimately, a great song will stand out and be in with a chance of getting played, but a professional approach can help you move to the top of the DJ’s listening pile.
Whilst you don’t need to accompany your track with loads of unnecessary additional extras, some brief info will help a DJ get an idea of your background and also provide them with some info to work with when they introduce your track on air. Also mention other stations that have played your tracks, and for local shows, give them details of any upcoming gigs in the area that they may be able to plug.
If you’ve already made an impact on a local level, have a release coming up and a budget to spend on promotion, then you can always consider investing in the services of a radio plugger to get you further exposure.
Typically used by record labels to get new releases onto the radio, a radio plugger can also be employed directly by a band or musician to get your music onto national, regional and specialist shows through their established contacts. Their relationships with DJs and radio producers that can help shift your music into the mainstream and working with a radio plugger can open doors that you would not be able to alone. Whilst the decision of a radio station to play your music will always come down to the quality of the song, a track put forward by radio plugger will be far more likely to get their attention in the first place. Don’t forget to check out the Music PR/Pluggers section of The Unsigned Guide directory which lists contact details of experienced radio pluggers who you can approach.
The Unsigned Guide is an online music industry directory for the UK, used by emerging bands, artists, producers & managers to find contacts to further their career. With over 8,500 contacts covering 50 areas of the music business, it is an essential tool for any unsigned act.